Altium Vault – Component Management

Design is usually the main concern for Engineers, while design management trails behind, and unfortunately this should not be the case. It’s imperative to have good design management standards in order to avoid time wasting and loss of data in the future. The Altium Vault is a great tool that can efficiently automate component design management for your organization, and this will be displayed in this blog piece and video below. The Altium Vault is a sub product of Altium Designer that allows for data and design management at various levels; they include: Component Management, Managed Projects and Collaboration, Data Management, and Infrastructure Management. In the Component Management level, we are able to access key features that are essential for design management, such as Revision Control, Lifecycle Management, and Supply Chain Management.   Component and Library Design FilesSymbol Image 1 From a component library perspective, there are four different containers that can be used in the Vault to store various design files. Three of these containers, which include “pcb”, “sim”, and “sym”, are containers for models, while there is an additional container for components. The component container allows for the association of these models and properties to a single component.   In order to add any container to a folder, we would first have to right click on the folder and choose Add Subfolder >> Other Folder Type >> Choose the required container. In the individual container we can right click and Create Item in order to design a model or component.   Altium Vault 1     Revision Control & Lifecycle Management When designers want to use Revision Control to manage the revisions of their design files and avoid loss of information, they usually choose complex external tools such as GIT and SVN, which can take years to master, while the Altium Vault comes with an automated and simple to use user interface to achieve the same results. Every item stored in the Vault has a revision state, and upon editing any item, the revision is automatically incremented and stored. Through the vault, designers can easily retrieve not only the latest revision, but all of the revisions of an item. Lifecycle Management is yet another great tool that complements Revision Control in the Altium Vault. This feature allows designers to associate various lifecycle stages to objects stored in the vault, which can include components, models, schematics, etc. There are 5 lifecycle stages that a file may go through, as can be seen from the image below, and there are also actions that designers can take to allow an object to transition between these stages.   Altium Vault 2     Supply Chain Management Following the library design phase, designers then usually spend a lot of time searching for suppliers and linking them with their components. This phase can be a hassle and can take precious time from the designers, however with the Vault, supply chain information is readily available. With the Vault designers can link multiple suppliers to their parts and retrieve important information such as the manufacturer, pricing information, and availability, respectively for each supplier. Adding more supplier links to your components can be done easily as shown in the images below. We can choose to Edit Part Choice List >> Search for a manufacturer part or component keyword >> Select the supplier link and click on the forward icon to add the solution.
Altium Vault 3 Altium Vault 4
  Overall the Altium Vault is a powerful tool that will enhance and automate design management and inherently save a lot of time from the hands of Designers. There are yet more powerful capabilities of the component vault such as the Browser based Management tool, and the “Where used” functionality.

These features along with an in-depth coverage of the already discussed features will be covered in the video below.

[embed][/embed]   Taha Ramy, B.ASc. Electrical Applications Specialist CAD MicroSolutions Inc. 65 International Boulevard, Toronto ON, M9W 6L9 Canada | T: (416) 213-0533 ext 212